Friday, April 15, 2016

5 Spring Questions

I’m sure almost everyone has seen the video of Head Coach Al Bagnoli, and new assistants John Audino and Ricky Santos reviewing spring practice so far and previewing the spring game/scrimmage tomorrow afternoon. 

Bagnoli made it clear that we won’t see a regular game tomorrow, but we’ll see quite a bit that should help us figure out where the team is headed.

The top feature will be anything we see of the new high speed/no huddle offense the team has been working on transitioning to all spring. I doubt we’ll see it going full tilt at this early stage, but any hint would be exciting.

Here are five key questions we might begin to answer by watching the spring game:

Who’s Gonna Carry the Rock?

Who’s in the lead to replace the graduating Cameron Molina at running back? I admit that coming into last year, I liked Molina a lot but only thought he was a marginal Honorable Mention All-Ivy player. Molina then turned in a legit 1st Team All Ivy year, which was good news when he did it but is bad news now because it leaves a bigger hole to fill.

That means the spring game will be the last chance for presumptive successors Alan Watson and Chris Schroer to show what they can do before impressive freshmen like Lynnard Rose and Tanner Thomas get their shots in training camp.

Who’s On the D-Line?

Columbia’s graduation losses on the stellar 2015 D-line are extensive. My sources say their replacements started pretty slowly this spring. But let’s see if players like Dominic Perkovic,  Lord Hyeamang, and Alexander Holme can show us something tomorrow. I do know the coaches felt Perkovic was snubbed for All Ivy recognition last year and Hyeamang has the tools to be a dominant player.

Is Hill Showing Real Signs of Improvement at QB?

With Skyler Mornhinweg out of spring practice because of injury, Anders Hill has been the undisputed #1 QB in the spring. I don’t expect him to be allowed to showcase his running ability in a practice game, but that’s a good thing because it’s his pure passing ability we want to check on anyway.

Do We Get a WR Upgrade?

 Columbia just didn’t have a go-to receiver last year, and some of that was because of injuries. Top WR Scooter Hollis is coming back in the fall for a 5th year, but he’s not participating in spring practice. Marcus Briscoe was looking good this spring but he tweaked his hamstring again, so he’s out as a precaution tomorrow. That means rising junior Cameron Dunn has a good chance to show some improvement before he’s really forced to compete for passes not only by the returning Briscoe and Hollis, but also incoming freshman Josh Wainwright who may be the best offensive player in the class of 2020.

Are the Linebackers as Good as Advertised?

Columbia sure seems to have an embarrassment of riches at this position. All three 2015 starters from this strong unit return in 2016, plus the guy who was supposed to be a starter but lost most of the year to injury. This talented and veteran group led by Christian Conway, Keith Brady, Gianmarco Rea, and Hagen Patterson, should look dominant at times tomorrow.

The spring game begins at 4:30pm tomorrow. See you there.


alawicius said...

Jake, needless to say we're all eagerly awaiting your spring game report!

By the way, you mentioned incoming frosh Lynnard Rose and Tanner Thomas as possible aspirants to the top rb position. Don't forget Van Neils, a powerful and smart runner, who was 2nd team All-State Minnesota. He also has a 4.2 GPA and 34 ACT, impressive or what?! Check out his most recent vid from HUDL:


LionAlum76 said...

1. Watson/Schroer complement each other nicely and should split 80% of the carries. Turner Demuth had some nice runs towards the end as well
2. The three you mentioned will obviously anchor the line. Need to see one of the D-Ends step up in training camp
3. Hill threw the ball very well and has a strong arm. Should end up splitting time 50/50 with Morninwheg
4. All of the WRs were banged up so hard to tell. Hollis should be the #1 option in the fall regardless
5. Yes they seemed to really fit well when the first unit was in. It seemed most of the runs were stopped for no gains when we had the starting D in